The federal government and First Nations legislatures will seek judicial review of the Canadian Human Rights Court’s decision to reject Ottawa’s $20 billion offer to settle a class-action lawsuit over the chronic underfunding of the Preliminary Child Welfare Scheme. .
Indigenous Services Minister Patti Haido and Royal Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon that the Liberals wanted “clarification” on how to deal with parts of the deal that the courts rejected. rice field.
“While we continue to work with both parties to compensate children who have been abducted and harmed, we have today filed a judicial review to have the court look at some aspects of the settlement agreement. did.
Miller added, “We disagree on some elements of the judgment and will therefore appeal.”
The AFN has also had issues with court decisions, which have led advocacy groups to file their own court challenges, Manitoba area chief Cindy Woodhouse said at a virtual press conference following the federal government’s announcement. .
“AFN also seeks judicial review to ensure that the rights of our children and families are fully respected in this process and that they receive the compensation they deserve,” Woodhouse said.
“We will also continue to pressure Canada to consider all options, including seeking a negotiated settlement to obtain a stream of compensation.”
Last week, Mr. Woodhouse told CBC News when asked if Congress was considering a challenge in court, the AFN “ruled nothing out,” but the government said their plans He refused to reveal what it was.
A class-action settlement announced in January and signed in June promised to compensate victims of the discriminatory Indigenous child welfare system, but the agreement as a whole remains unresolved as the courts ruled from 2019 that the existing It was “conditional” to declare that the indemnity order had been fulfilled.
Court Rejected Settlement in October
In its Oct. 24 written decision, the court said the proposed settlement substantially covered that standing order, but excluded some children included in the compensation award from the class action settlement. refused to declare it fulfilled because it would be
According to the Federal Court of Canada, a person directly affected by an order or decision of a federal court may challenge that decision through judicial review “within 30 days after the decision or order is first communicated.” .
Woodhouse said that because the letter was merely a summary, not a formal written decision of the court, AFN felt it necessary to protect its rights while awaiting full cause.
“We look forward to a full decision and in the meantime we are protecting ourselves.”
The case dates back to 2007, when AFN and Cindy Blackstock filed a complaint of human rights violations with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In her landmark 2016 ruling, the court found Canada’s fundraising practices to be racist and constituted systemic human rights abuses.
A court ruled that this racism was “willful and reckless” when Canada issued an order in 2019 to pay each victim and certain family members the legal maximum of $40,000, judicially last year. been examined.
Canada lost its review, and Blackstock, who was contacted by phone after the announcement, said Canada should have complied and paid the victims.
“The court issued a final order on compensation, which was upheld by federal court and Canada should have paid it,” Blackstock said.
“There should have been no more lawsuits after that.”
Canada has challenged the outcome of the judicial review in the Federal Court of Appeals and expects to decide what to do with the case by early December.
About 30 legal orders have already been issued in 15 years against allegations of human rights violations, and Canada has yet to win a legal field that was later overturned, Blackstock said. rice field.
“Canada has lost all of these reviews except the one that was overturned on appeal,” she said.
“I don’t understand why they are paying taxpayers money for a legal battle that also denies children’s rights. is.”